Poop ticket

At a stop light in the middle of the night, I’ll always slow, look both ways, and if there’s no traffic I’ll run the red light. This wasn’t the middle of the night, though. It was 6:15 AM, the sun was up, and there was occasional cross-traffic … but I had to poop, and soon, so I took a chance, looked both ways and ran the light.

Midway through the intersection, I saw a cop car approaching from the other street. For them the light was green, so they knew it was red for me, and their flashing blues came on.

I pulled over, hoping this would be quick because like I said, I really had to poop. Being pulled over is never quick, though. The cops sat in the squad car, running my plates but probably also discussing donuts and football. The longer they dawdled, the more my sphincter and abdomen tightened, and the more I needed to let it all loose.

Loose is a key word, too — this wasn’t going to be time on the toilet spent straining and paining, it was going to be one of those poops where you try desperately to get your britches down before everything explodes.

While waiting and waiting, I turned off the ignition, rolled the window down, took the license from my wallet, proof-of-insurance from the glove box, concentrated on not pooping, and waited and waited more. When the driver-side cop finally stepped out of the black-and-white and very slowly walked toward my car, I was ready with what I wanted to say.

“Hey, Mister Officer,” I said, “I ran the light and deserve the ticket, no argument and I’ll sign anything. I did it because I live two blocks from here, and I am going to shit myself almost instantly if I don’t get to a toilet. Can you please please please follow me to my house, and write the ticket there while I run inside and poop?”

He looked at me stone-faced, and eventually, skeptically said, “Two blocks, eh?” Perhaps foolishly, I took that as permission, and started my engine. He didn’t say anything more, but he walked back to the police car. Once he’d settled himself behind the wheel, I pulled my car back onto the street, flipped on my hazard lights, and drove to my apartment, almost as slowly as he'd walked. Five miles an hour, max. Full stop at the one stop sign. Used my turn signals, though I suppose that wasn’t visible with my hazard lights blinking, too.

The cops followed with their flashing light flashing, but without a siren, and I appreciated that. At home I parked at curbside, hurried out of my car, pointed at the windshield (meaning, leave the ticket there), and waddled toward the door with small, short footsteps, because walking any faster would’ve squirted liquefeces into my pants.

Three minutes later I returned with a huge smile, a cold soda in each hand, one for each cop, and traded the cans for a ticket, which I’ve never been happier to sign and pay. The fine was only twenty bucks. The police officers were polite, and the issuing officer’s sidekick seemed to be stifling giggles. 

Like most people aware of anything, the police worry me. No interactions with cops have turned out especially awful for me, but it happens. You know to move slowly, do as you're told, and hope for the best. That day, I lucked into a couple of cops in an understanding mood.

How many privilege cards was I playing, all at once? Old and gray-haired privilege was probably involved, as well as pudgy privilege, because even when I’m seated in a car, it’s obvious I’m no threat to anyone. And poop privilege, because we’ve all been there, even cops.

Mostly, though, and most obviously, it was white privilege that got me home unsoiled. If I'd been black, it's less likely I would've been allowed to drive off before signing a ticket. If I'd been a black man, dressed scruffy like I was, driving a rusted old Chevy with two years of highway grime on it and three left-wing bumper stickers? I'd know better than to even ask.



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  1. You say you never had a bad experienmce with police, and in this story the police are very nice. I don;'t understand why the animosity toward police?


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